Best Playmats for Babies India

When we had baby number one, we were broke students. I had no money and we turned to God for supply.

We were not in India and did not want to ask for help from people in India. We reached out in prayers.

I was overwhelmed by how strangers came forward to give us hand me down toys, clothes, new crib, new car seat.

So my first child I never bought a playmat. I got a hand me down.

For my second child, things were better. We were blessed with money and were near family.

I think for second child we bought everything new. If I knew other parents here I probably would have stuck to hand me downs only or second hand as you call it.

So this takes us to the question  if I were to buy a playmat… 

Are playmats worth it?

Aah the question every parent thinks of some day or the other…

Is the purchase justified?

As a new parent we are obsessed ( at least I was) of getting the next best thing on the block for kiddo.
But costs add up… and don’t forget we have diapers to buy, clothes to buy, organic detergents… sigh..

 So should you buy one? 

Playmats can give you the the much needed rest you need.  If your child is around 8 weeks and older , consider investing in a playmat for your baby.

There are many parents who swear their newborn loved it, but I am not sure of that. I mean doesn’t baby have to be able to move around? But then each baby is different and you know your child better than anyone else.

Are playmats necessary ?

Nope they are not.

You can always be creative and use other ways to keep your child happy.

If you are looking for something to keep your baby occupied and  give yourself a much needed break  a playmat can be very useful.

Nowadays you get interactive playmats which can distract your child anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Now thats totally worth it.

You could clean the room, take a short coffee break, watch something, read a book.

Are playmats washable?

Look at the product description before purchasing one. Some are washable and some aren’t.
It should mention washable or machine washable.
Here are my tips for deciding whether it is washable or not

  • If it has electronic parts, it can’t be washed.
  • If it has mirrors etc attached to it, generally it might be difficult to wash that in the washing machine.

How to clean baby playmat ?

Okay… those companies might shoot me… but here it goes…

Playmat manufacturers will often mention wipe clean or surface clean only or sponge clean.
What this means is that you clean with a damp sponge or moist cloth and dab it dry.
 Now lets be practical here. 

Baby food, dried food, and the other etceteras will NOT be removed by this procedure.

 So this is what I did, and yes it is said not to do it. 

Either I handwash or machine wash ( mostly machine wash) using a eco-friendly detergent.

In the machine wash at 30 degrees or less, gentle wash ( I have wool wash) and then hang it to dry.

Yes if it has some glass or those fake mirrors they might look hazed but that’s what I do.

You could also handwash using organic detergents and hang dry. By the way sun is the best sanitizer ( yes sun discolours also).

Are playmats good for newborns ?

Playmats are good for babies as they help them develop self-awareness, logic, co-ordination.

Your baby is a complete individual.

The baby has the same intelligence and awareness you and me have.

Yes doctors do compartmentalize and mention at 6 weeks baby can do this, at 2 months this…

But really  your baby is such an intelligent, creative, curious child. 

Playmats make them learn to recognize colours, reach out and touch the hanging toys, make an effort to kick and make music.

I generally feel that it is best to introduce babies to anything right when they are little.
My kids loved and stuck on to stuff I had either purchased or borrowed when they were little.

They love the smell, touch and feel of items they are familiar with. This makes travel so much easier, just make sure you have the favorite blanket, squeaky book and playmat.

Also playmats are good for starting baby on the tummy time.

There are many ideas on when and at what age to start a baby on tummy time. My babies were started on tummy time very early on. Make sure they sleep on the back ( till they are one or older) and then introduce moments of tummy time for short moments through the day ( 5 to 15 minutes supervised tummy time).

What are playmats made of ?

Playmats can be made from rubber, cloth, foam. Most playmats which are foam based are made of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). This is not safe and can be harmful.

Are foam play mats safe?

EVA foams have Formamide which can be carcinogenic and can be having toxins. So yes stay away from these.

What age are playmats for ?

I dont want you to buy a playmat thinking it is necessary and something you have to buy for your baby to be happy and become intelligent.

No.

Nothing is more important than having loved ones around. In my village sarees from grandmothers were circulated so that babies could be laid on them. Yes we turned out fine.

Playmats do tend to help in nuclear families, single parent homes. We are exhausted need a break and it might be easy to have baby on the playmat next to us while we catch up on some book or quiet time.

It helps that baby is super happy are engaged because that means the parent can get some more rest.

Best Playmats for Babies in India

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym

This playmat and gym is perfect for babies and grows with them. It can be folded easily and has toys which can be switched out.

It has a teething rubber which babies love. It comes with a mirror which babies are fascinated with.

Most parents love the adjustable arms which can be adjusted at two levels. It is perfect for travel as it is compact when folded.

 

Pros:

  • Can be collapsed easily
  • Easy to wash and clean
  • Toys can be switched out
  • Toys can be washed
  • Folds up easily
  • Sensory toys which rattle and crinkle
  • Baby can pull on rings
  • Teething rubber

Cons

  • pillow can be slippery

Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym comes with a pillow which can be used under babys arms or chest for support ( very useful for tummy time ).

When should KIDS start using an Alarm Clock

My son wakes up too early and I end up getting no sleep. I like to work late and getting up early is a hassle for me. My daughter on the other hand loves to sleep in.
Each child is different and for both these types of situations an alarm clock can be used.
So when should kids start using an alarm clock. If your child understands numbers they can potentially use an alarm clock.
There are many factors including age, their behaviour, sleeping patterns which go into this decision as well.

I did a lot of research on this topic and found many resources forums.
Most parents are ready to start of their child on an alarm clock usually at the age of 5 to 7 years old.
My understanding is my child knows numbers he or she can use the alarm clock.
A preschooler is taught the importance of numbers, the clock and hence is ready for an alarm clock.

How to get the kids ready for the alarm clock ?
I think if your kids are like my kids they might resist the alarm clock.
In order to get them to get excited about the alarm clock and also to have them actually use it let them choose it.
If they have picked it out themselves to use it. It might be a good idea to gift wrap it so that they like opening their present which happens to be the alarm clock. Let them decide where they would put this alarm clock in their room.
Let the kids sleep earlier so that they wake up when the alarm goes off.

Why do kids need the alarm clock
I personally do not like the concept of an alarm clock. The only reason and alarm clock entered my house was when it got very difficult to wake my daughter up.
The morning Rush to prepare lunch boxes and then to run and half wake her up, were not something I was looking forward to.
Usually it would leave me in a very crappy mood and also the atmosphere was really charged.

Why do parents need an alarm clock for their children
A parent might need the extra time in the morning to get some more rest and also to maybe catch up on the morning routine.
Having an alarm clock will help the children wake up on their own. If they have been trained to do their morning routine then it would simplify everything.
They might be another toddler in the house or a small baby and it would be good if the mother got some extra sleep.

My child gets up too early

If your child gets up too early you might want to take a look at this particular alarm clock.
[amazon_link asins=’B002TKLN3W’ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’0a88a6c7-8bfb-11e8-8c1e-2fdbba58801e’] This alarm clock makes use of lights to help a child understand not yet time to get out of bed.
You can tell the child that they have to stay in bed tell the light turns green.
If you are child resists this then you can tell your child that they need to be quiet quietly till the light goes green.

There are other alarm clocks in the market such as the disney princess. The disney Princess has a buzzer, radio and Cinderella singing.

[amazon_link asins=’B00L2MNP6G’ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’534011d1-8bfb-11e8-a32b-91f797d4f10c’] Some Kids like this a lot, the love waking up to the sound of Cinderella singing.
Other kids alarm clocks with numbers. Get your child alarm clock you think will suit them.

What is my child cannot read the clock?
That’s totally fine. If your child can read numbers write down the time on a piece of paper and put it on under the alarm clock.

My child switches off the alarm clock
This was my concern with my child as well. She would switch off clock usually in her sleep and just go back to sleep. Sometimes she would simply not switch it off and then I have to get up and switch it off.

This was getting out of hand for both of us. That’s when I tried a few of these things hopefully something will work for you.

  1. First turning up the volume of the alarm clock. This did not work in my case but try to see if it will work for you.
  2. Next I just put the alarm clock across the room. This worked for us. Because this meant that my child had to get up and get out of bed to switch it off.

It worked most days but there were a couple of days when she slept right through it. This is something we were ok with and this is continuing now.
It works for us. Find something which works for you and your family.

How can you make your preschooler accustomed to the alarm clock?
Let me tell you what happened in my house and see if it works for you. My child wakes up too early. So we had kind of reward program.[amazon_link asins=’0241276454,B01MA1IGLK,B000MEYJR4,B01ALIQY1E’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’168f0063-8bfc-11e8-a1bd-03a1152ce9ab’]

If he stays in bed or keep quiet and stays in his room he gets rewards. So it was like one point. So each of these points can buy him some extra game time, or he gets to watch an extra cartoon. This got him really excited and it worked for both of us.

[amazon_link asins=’B07FCCTKJ3,B01M3S0K21,B019H8302A,B07BL2WHKR’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’ac98d78d-8bfb-11e8-959e-a7fd6b4e896c’]

There is in my opinion set age when should kids start using an alarm clock. Each child is different and for some you can start out early for some it takes extra time. All I can say that it is a process, a learning process for both mum and child.

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Best Developmental Toys for 2-3 year olds

My ideas on some best developmental toys for 2-3 year olds. I thought I was parenting right till my house seemed so out of order. My kids squabbles were getting out of hand.  [amazon_link asins=’B00KGYICSC’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’49dc9b65-8429-11e8-939a-43d7809d450a’]Each felt the other was given importance and that their needs were not met. After the initial shock of why this is happening in my house I decided to invest some time in reading mindful parenting books.

One led to the other and I landed on a book ( I forgot the title) which I borrowed on amazon kindle and I ended up simplifying my house and do you know it brought a surprising result. My kids squabbles starting reducing. Now there are no squabble free days but there are MORE good days and we are making progress.

In this article I share some ideas on [amazon_textlink asin=’B07CWSZXJJ’ text=’best developmental toys for 2-3 year olds’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’257d87ae-8425-11e8-9d5e-9953f3b33641′]. My son is 7 and I used the same ideas and things have changed at home. Try them and come back and let me know how it goes will you?

2 year olds start entering the world of pretend play. They love playing with imaginary friends and toys have important roles in their lives. I find this trick works for my 7 year old too and I still remember how much I enjoyed pretend play.

Natural Open ended Toys

[amazon_link asins=’B074D354RN’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’e954ae13-8424-11e8-becf-0fe6a4d0bb84′]

Wooden toys are something I always prefer for my child.

They are natural and toys like these are open ended toys, means they can let their imagination go wild. They do not have to conform to the world standards. In their imaginary play their house has their rules.

Natural blocks are so much more fun to handle than plastic and I am sure your child will love these.


Sweep and Mop Sets

Toddlers love to do what mummy does and they love helping around doing household chores.

If you give them a sweep and mop in their own size, this will take this to an all new level.

[amazon_textlink asin=’B078681XC3′ text=’Sweep & Mop Toy Set’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’27c5b434-8423-11e8-a4ff-b7cf0abee69a’]

I still remember itching to help my mother help clean the house. I have noticed the same interest in my son while my daughter isn’t even remotely interested in anything which includes cleaning.

I liked how this sweep and mop set is so real like like and it is also just the perfect size for a toddler. It comes in pretty colours making it very attractive to the little ones.


Wooden Blocks

[amazon_link asins=’B0787ZKBSZ’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’52dfea5b-8426-11e8-a603-dd59f5934668′] Wooden blocks which have no fixed way of playing are very good as there are numerous ways to play with these.

These can be clubbed with other toys to create a house for dolls  or a garage for small cars or a barn for animals.

Whenever we buy such toys we are not limiting the child and the child doesn’t get bored too easily as there are endless options to play


Trucks

[amazon_link asins=’B07DGJ1YX1′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’424ccb0a-8427-11e8-b084-490070ebc026′] These are excellent for pretend play.

You can push them around and also pretend playing to be a firefighter. So this serves many purposes, child learns about firefighters, their job. The child also learns to push stuff around and have fun.

Limit the number of toys your child has both in the house and while playing. Too may toys is too much overload for a child and makes them cranky.

It confuses the child, overwhelms and then thy just leave them and look to you for entertainment.


Doll Family

[amazon_link asins=’B0001VVB9C’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’toysinindia-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’1d321684-8428-11e8-bba9-6b1efd2a8cdc’] These are some of the best developmental toys for 2-3 year olds as they introduce the concept of family.

Suppose your 2 year old throws a doll or stamps on it, you could mention slowly we don’t do that to family.

There is no need to be over dramatic but it could be pointed out slowly. A family is one unit and this concept can be learned as well. I prefer such dolls rather than fancy dolls like barbie because they do not reflect what a real person looks like.

I also like the Peppa pigs soft toys family as the dolls were soft toys and were introducing the concept of family.

These are some of the best developmental toys for 2-3 year olds. Share your ideas and let us know what you have in mind.

ETIKOPPAKA DOLLS

ETIKOPPAKA DOLLS are native to Andhra Pradesh, they come from the village by the same name Etikoppaka, hence the name.

This village is located on the banks of the Varaha river in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

 They are also known as Etikoppaka Bommalu.
The toys are also called lacquer toys as the are coated with layers of coloured lacquer.

ETIKOPPAKA DOLLS creationg is also known as Turned wood Lacquer craft

I have seen similarities in its creation to kondapali toys and Gujarati toys. Some say the dyes used are from Gujarat.

 

Lac which is obtained from insects is mixed with dyes from roots, leaves, bark and seeds.

Buy these toys

Etikoppaka Top

These are perfect for kids who are 5 years and older. They are made out of wood and natural dyes, hence not at all harmful for your child.

I like the fact that it is made out of wood and not plastic.

It is safe for the environment and I love natural toys, like the ones we played with as kids, toys made of mud and wood and just stones.

I have this at home, its really precious… It gives both my kids endless hours of fun. You basically wind this top using the thread they’ve given and spin it. My son loves this like a lot.

You can buy it here for Rs. 190 – Buy Etikoppaka Tops

 

Other Etikoppa Toys

 Kitchen Set

This contains 22 pieces of wodden kitchen set and costs Rs. 1050

I still remember we would buy such ones for very less … nowadays original toys are so rare, the craftsmen are not available.

It is so important we support such craftsmen.

You can get this set here – Kitchen Set

Paper Mache Dolls

How to Make Paper Mache Indian Dolls

There are two ways to prepare paper mache. one way is by layering strips of paper and glue while the other is to use paper pulp (obtained by boiling or soaking paper) mixed with glue.

Paper Mache Indian Dolls

to make a doll by the first method,

  • Tear some paper into strips
  • make a glue mixture: you can make one using flour or using regular glue

  • for the flour mixture, keep 1/2 cup of water to boil. then, mix 1/2 cup each of flour and cold water and 3/4 tsp of salt together. combine this mixture with the boiling water and cook until it forms a thick paste
  • for the other mixture, mix together 1 part water to 3 parts glue
  • take a support ( one can be made using wire)and keep layering paper and glue until you reach the desired shape

leave it to dry completely before painting

 

How to clean paper mache dolls

Since paper mache dolls are made of paper, they may spoil on getting wet. Try cleaning it using a clean, damp cloth and, taking care not to wet the surface, gently massage the grime off.

How to Repair Paper Mache Dolls

kondapalli toys

Kondapalli toys for kids

Kondapalli Toys are safe for kids, they are made from wood and the colours used are safe and non toxic. These are similar to Etikoppaka Toys which are also from Andhra Pradesh.

There are no choking hazards and no lead used. As a parent you must ensure that the toys you buy for your child are age appropriate, if there are any small parts, parts which can be removed then those are not suitable for toddlers.

Wooden Elephant 

Puniki Wood Bullock Cart